In its annual announcement, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will reveal the status of the Doomsday Clock at 10 a.m. Thursday morning.
The clock was introduced in 1967 and is a symbolic representation of how close humanity is to destroying civilization. Typically, the hands are moved forward or back depending on how vulnerable the world is. Midnight represents a catastrophe.
While the hands of the clock typically move a minute at a time, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved it by 30 seconds in 2017 and 2018. It remained unchanged in 2019, and is currently at two minutes to midnight.
The only time the hands were this close to midnight was in 1953, when the U.S. and Soviet Union began rigorously testing nuclear weapons.
The clock takes into account issues such as the threat of dangerous weapons, like technology and nuclear missiles, the political climate and climate change.
The farthest the clock’s hands have been from midnight was 17 minutes in 1991, at the end of the Cold War.
The announcement will be made by Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, as well as former California governor and the current executive chair at the Bulletin, Jerry Brown. They will be joined by Ban-Ki moon, the former UN secretary general, and others at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.